What You Need to Know Before Taking Your Next Trip Down Under
The antipodes, the colonies, the land down under! We Brits may have wept many a tear when Neighbours left the tele; but that isn’t stopping us going down to Australia to pay homage to Ramsay Street (which is a real suburb in the greater Melbourne area!) as well as basking in endless summer days, pristine forests, never-ending Outback vistas by luxury train, and all sorts of cultural events.
Though we have seen Australians brush off honking great spiders with ease – what else do you need to know before taking your next trip (or first trip) to Australia?
The climate is wildly different
Australia is a big country. So big, it’s 32 times the size of the UK. Many assume it’s a hot country built on muscle and dust; but various parts of the country can get rather chilly and dreary during the winter months. Tasmania, the island down the bottom of the East Coast is a tourist trap for skiiers, for example. The Northern Territory has a “wet season” and “dry season” which you need to account for. Melbourne, it’s said, can experience all four seasons over the course of an afternoon! Remember to pack accordingly for your destination. Also – you could be swept up in tropical cyclones (hurricanes), flooding, dust storms, and wildfires! Follow the travel advice before you go to any hazard prone areas.
Are you fit for travel?
Since Australia can be a bit of an adventure – especially if you go to regional or rural areas – you need to know if you’re fit for travel. That may mean vaccinations for flu, COVID-19, malaria, diphtheria and tetanus, and other bugs. You should also follow the recommendations by the NHS about travelling in Australia so you’re fully prepared.
Getting the right travel insurance
Some credit cards will offer “complimentary travel insurance” but does it cover you for every eventuality? Australia does have reciprocal arrangements with the NHS (called Medicare) – but don’t rely on it as it’s usually for Brits staying for extended periods. You should compare travel insurance choices so you get the right cover for medical emergencies, lost luggage, cancellations, and sudden or emergency repatriation. Don’t get caught out thinking “she’ll be right” – as the Aussies say!
Carrying your medicine
When travelling, be mindful of local rules regarding prescription medications and special authorisation. You must also bring enough original-packaged drugs for your trip. You may need a licence (if necessary), a note from your doctor explaining the pills’ use, and a duplicate prescription. Keep prescription medicines in carry-on. That means misplaced luggage won’t mean losing all your medicines.
Ask locals for advice
When you’re down there, swimming in a seemingly nice river or bushwalking an old track will be tempting – but could get you horribly lost or swept away by a current! Before you go off the beaten path, ask locals for advice. Some towns and cities will have a Tourist Information Office you can visit, which should be your first port of call!